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An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores.

For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,
Howard Schultz





http://www.starbucks.com/blog/an-open-letter-from-howard-schultz/1268
 

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I called that one a few months back. A retail company does not want to be in the middle of divisive topic. The goal of a company in that segment is to grow their customer base which certainly means not alienating large segments. As soon as people started using their brand as a soap box I knew it was coming.
 

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I guess no more Starbucks for me, does this stop the 100's of thousands cups a day.........nope. Yet I'm just tired of the Hoplophobia people.
 

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It can be done
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I know they don't want to upset either side but I'm sure they'll be unable to please both sides on this.




Mr. HE:cool:
 

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Am Yisrael Chai
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From the article: "...I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. ..."

Concealed means concealed. Open carry enthusiast, SOMETIMES, fail to consider the nuances of garnering wider, public support.

In support of their CONTINUING decision to not ban firearms from their stores, I'll still stop at "six-bucks" on occasion like I normally do.
 

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The Bombdiggity
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I guess no more Starbucks for me, does this stop the 100's of thousands cups a day.........nope. Yet I'm just tired of the Hoplophobia people.
Really? I dont think the man could be any more reasonable.

You rub something in someones face enough and it will probably backfire. Which is what is happening to a lot of the open carry folks.
 

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The Bombdiggity
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Buying coffee, tea, or pastries with $2 bills was enough of a statement. The open carry guys had to push the envelope and now the anti-gun side have a moral victory as Starbucks just caved in to their political pressure.
Again, how is this "pro" or "anti" or anyone caving. This is about not wanting a business used as a political tool for other peoples agenda.

If I owned a business that didnt take a stand on abortion and because of that one side of the abortion debate starting using my business for their agenda, I would want them to stop as well....no matter what my personal opinion on the issue is.
 

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Starbucks isn't saying no to weapons, they're saying no to open carry.
 

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These weren't the regular, everyday open carriers that made this happen. They were the idiots who slung rifles over their shoulders and went into starbucks pretending to be there solely to support starbucks. They took advantage of their policy and forced them to change it.
 

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Again, how is this "pro" or "anti" or anyone caving. This is about not wanting a business used as a political tool for other peoples agenda.

If I owned a business that didnt take a stand on abortion and because of that one side of the abortion debate starting using my business for their agenda, I would want them to stop as well....no matter what my personal opinion on the issue is.
They used to be neutral and just went with state laws. Now the guns are unwelcome and it will soon be posted "no guns allowed".
 

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They used to be neutral and just went with state laws. Now the guns are unwelcome and it will soon be posted "no guns allowed".
I can't blame them at all. Both sides forced them in the middle of the debate. If open carry guys would have just walked in, bought coffee and left with a thank you, nothing would have changed. But they set up booths outside their stores, turning the entire situation into a political rally, inviting the opposing side to rally too.
 

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He's covering his behind so the anti gun crowd will get off it.

However, if they post 30.06 signs here in TX (banning CCW) then they can shove their crappy coffee.

We should open cowboy coffee where guns are welcomed.
 

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The Bombdiggity
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They used to be neutral and just went with state laws. Now the guns are unwelcome and it will soon be posted "no guns allowed".
I can not care about something...until someone makes me have to care about it.

No matter how you feel about guns (and it is safe to say that the people on Glock Talk are very pro) but if you own a national company, people slinging AR's on their back or staging open carry demonstrations at your store is simply not good for business.

Lets be honest, the "I want it my way" selfishness of some within the open carry crowd caused this, not the "Just leave my business alone" crowd.
 

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Am Yisrael Chai
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Starbucks isn't saying no to weapons, they're saying no to open carry.
Not even this.

They are asking the Open Carry bunch to NOT make their statements, en mass, at six-bucks store locations.
 

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Very well-reasoned letter and I will continue to avoid my local Starbucks due to the expensive coffee and dirty hippies and not due to their position on this issue...
 

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My local starbucks runs a hunters special every year at the beginning of deer season. Not exactly a pansy liberal thing to do and I'm sure it upsets some of the bambi lovers.



Mr. HE:cool:
 

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Yet they scratch their heads and act shocked every time.
At least they can kill two birds with one stone since their heads and their rears occupy the same space.
 
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